The magic day is almost upon us. July 3rd, the 49th anniversary of the day I met Bill and spent the weekend and the past 49 years with him is only a month away. My plan is to get married on July 3rd in our backyard.
Of course you all know that Bill doesn't want any fuss at all. In fact, if he could avoid coming to his own wedding he would but he hasn't figured out a way to do that. That's My Bill, private to the inth degree. But he has finally resigned himself that he will have to appear at his own wedding. Now for the reception afterwards, that's another whole story we haven't resolved yet. In fact I feel I've made a major accomplishment just by getting Bill to agree to attend his own wedding. I won't push my luck.
So here is what we have planned so far. Next Tuesday I will go to the Sussex County Justice of the Peace office and obtain our marriage license. BOTH of us have to go, which of course Bill again was reluctant to go. "Do I have to go too?" "Yes Bill, WE'RE getting married and they want to make sure I'm not marrying a child bride/groom." See what I have to put up with folks? It hasn't been easy, I'll tell you.
So we will get our marriage license and then have thirty days to get married. Since next Tuesday is the 4th, we will just make it. We would go on Monday but Bill has a doctor's appointment at the Wilmington VAMC. Yes folks, we're trying to get married while we're both still alive and cozignant of what we're doing.
Our wedding will be a very small wedding. Our dear friends, Jack and Judy (and my former classmate) have graciously agreed to be our witnesses.
|Jack and Judy (and me)|
Mark and Fred, (Mark, of "Our Simple Lives" and a fabulous photographer) have also graciously agreed to attend our wedding. Mark will take photos for which I am very, very happy. Mark is not only a delightful person, good friend but he is a photographer par excellence as witness his photos of our recent Bloggerama. Mark also had taken photos of my family reunions and class reunion.
|Fred and Mark|
Our dear neighbors Bob and Barbara have also agreed to attend. We live right next door to each other (practically together) and there was just no way we would exclude them from such a major milestone in our lives.
|Bob and Barbara (and me)|
Thank goodness Bill loves all these folks. And how could he not? I do have some fabulous friends, if I do say so myself. Now after having said that there are many who I haven't invited. If it was up to me I would invite all my friends (no gifs please) but I have to balance this ceremony with Bill's wishes for privacy and yet at the same time have a meaningful ceremony with friends who are important in our lives.
Afterwards we will have a tete a tete. No guarantees that Bill will attend but I'm having it anyway. Film at eleven.
Oh, by the way. I did invite my two local legislators, the same two legislators who voted against marriage equality for Delaware residents even though they both represent at district that has the fourth largest same sex couple population in the United States. No word back....yet from those two profiles in courage.
|"Senator Ernie Lopez - A Senator for Our Families" - code word for NOT GAY FAMIES|
|Representative Steve Smyk and his family|
Yes, representative Smyk is referring to me when he stated in his letter to the Cape Gazette "The Cape Gazette recently printed a letter from a Milton man who took issue with my stance on the same-sex marriage bill (House Bill 75) and my responsiveness to his concerns." What Representative Smyk is referring to my letter to the Cape Gazette stating that I wrote him two handwritten letters and he didn't even have the courtesy to respond to my letters, let alone support same sex marriage. I can understand and respect his decision to to support same sex marriage (well, actually I can't but we can agree to disagree) but what I had a problem with is that he just ignored me. Again, treated me as a gay man as "less than." That to me is unacceptable in this day and age.
Smyk defends stance on same-sex marriage
The Cape Gazette recently printed a letter from a Milton man who took issue with my stance on the same-sex marriage bill (House Bill 75) and my responsiveness to his concerns.
I voted “no” on the legislation, which has since been signed into law, allowing same-sex marriages in Delaware beginning July 1.
The residents of the 20th Representative District who contacted me on this issue overwhelming urged me to oppose the legislation. Others wanted me to support the bill. The author of the letter - who noted in his missive that he has been in a long-term, committed same-sex relationship for nearly five decades - was among the most vocal of this latter group. While I fully understand and appreciate his perspective, I believe my obligation is to represent the interests of the majority of my district.
It needs to be noted that Delaware has been on the cutting edge of ensuring that the rights of same-sex couples are protected. At the start of last year, Delaware implemented its civil union law, giving same-sex couples entering into such contracts all the legal benefits afforded to opposite-sex married spouses. The First State was one of only six to enact such a law.
With civil unions in place, House Bill 75 represented a line I was not willing to cross, partially because of the significant potential it holds for unintended consequences. During the House debate on this bill, one nationally-recognized expert testified that Delaware’s redefinition of marriage will create societal repercussions that will be felt for years to come, including possible lawsuits against small businesses and school districts.
In addition to finding fault with my vote on the same-sex marriage bill, the Milton man also faulted me for being unresponsive to the hand-written notes he sent me regarding the legislation. In this instance, he has a point.
It is true that I did not send a prompt reply, as is my usual practice. I had intended to visit him to discuss the issue face-to-face. Given his passion for this bill, it seemed a more effective way of having a productive dialogue then trading letters or emails, especially in light of the considerable amount of communications I was receiving on the measure.
Unfortunately, I was caught off-guard by the high-speed passage of HB 75. Introduced April 11, in less than a month the bill had been approved by two committees, passed by both chambers of the General Assembly and signed into law. While I am just a few months into my first term in office, even seasoned lawmakers told me they were surprised by the rapidity with which such an impactful bill moved through the legislative process. Still, that is no excuse for not carrying out my intended response.
Same-sex marriage is a hot-button issue on which there is no middle ground. Regardless of how I voted, my decision was certain to disappoint some of my constituents. That is the reality of state legislators. The single vote we cast on any controversial bill cannot possibly reflect the views of each of our constituents.
With regard to same-sex marriage, I am confident I did the right thing for my district and remain comfortable with my vote and the stance I took on this issue.
State Rep. Steve Smyk
20th Representative District, R, Lewes-Georgetown
20th Representative District, R, Lewes-Georgetown